• David Strittmatter

3 tips for immense personal growth

If there is no struggle, there is no progress - Frederick Douglass


Summary:

  • No matter in which area of life, personal growth makes us solve problems easier

  • To personally grow, we need to try new things and challenge ourselves

  • The sweet spot for personal growth lies in just-manageable tasks


Practical advice:

  • The most important lever to grow better is to (1) embrace and listen carefully to feedback and (2) regularly ask for it (consistency)

  • Say rather yes than no to things that are challenging

  • Reflecting regularly allows you to critically rethink your ideas, thoughts, and action, boosting your personal growth


Dear friend,


I’ve just finished another consulting engagement, and, reflecting on the past weeks, I’m once again surprised how much I could learn and personally grow over the course of a few weeks.


I greatly appreciate the learning opportunities my job offers me. I can witness a true difference between the person I’m today and the person I was when I started 6 months ago.


When I decided to become a strategy consultant, I had very high expectations with regard to this aspect. In my opinion, personal growth is among the most important factors when we have to choose a job early in our careers.


But why should we care about growth? And how do we grow best? In today’s blog article, I will answer these questions and give you 3 practical tips on how to boost your personal growth.


Why we should care about personal growth


Simply spoken, personal growth makes us solve problems easier - no matter in which area of life. When we grow, we can have better relationships, advance our careers, better enjoy our hobbies, ...


By focusing on personal growth, we can experience great benefits:


First and foremost, the more we grow, the more we’re able to overcome the limitations that prevent us from living life to the fullest. For instance, when I was a teenager, I was very shy and had great anxiety to talk strangers. By challenging myself and focussing on developing my personality, I could attain great confidence and lost all my shyness, even making me able to approach my girlfriend when I saw her the first time in the gym.


Second, by growing, we can handle once difficult situations more easily. Can you remember the first time when you tried to talk in a foreign language? Even if you’re still feeling not super confident, you feel much more confident now than the first time you tried.


Third, what I’ve experienced during my personal growth journey: My life simply became better and better. Growth allows me to have more fun, experience more satisfaction, and improve my relationships.


How we grow best


To personally grow, we need to get out of our comfort zone: We need to try new things and challenge ourselves. That can be as simple as learning a new word in a foreign language or as challenging as accepting a new job in a different country where you’ve never been before.


There’re different degrees of getting out of our comfort zone, and, ideally, we don’t overwhelm ourselves but find the sweet spot where we grow best: Little challenging tasks imply little growth while massive challenges lead to anxiety and overload. Hence, we cannot simply say the more challenging a task the better we grow.


But when do we grow best?


The sweet spot for personal growth lies in just-manageable tasks. Those are the goals and duties for which we perceive our skill level as high and which we perceive as highly challenging but not too overwhelming.


Ultimately, the key lies in finding the right balance. And it’s about not only picking the right tasks and goals but also taking rest seriously.


3 tips to boost your personal growth


There’re 3 things that have greatly enhanced my personal development in the past few years:


Feedback


The most important lever to grow better is to (1) embrace and listen carefully to feedback and (2) regularly ask for it (consistency).


Whether it’s your partner, your sports mate, your teacher, your sibling, or your colleague, by embracing their opinions and listen carefully to his/her advice, we can grow rapidly. I know it’s not easy. Our first natural reaction to people giving us advice is rather protective than embracing. In these moments, when we want to justify ourselves, we should rather pause and appreciate the time spends on our growth.


Moreover, it’s even more important to regularly ask for feedback. How can you do x, y, or z better in your relationship? What can you do better to get promoted faster? What can you do on top to receive a better grade?


Just-manageable tasks


The second lever is just-manageable tasks. By saying rather yes than no to things that are challenging, we can grow faster and stronger.


For instance, if your partner suggests a long trip to another country, rather say yes than no; if your boss asks you want to present your results to a major audience, rather say yes than no; if your friend has a great business idea and wants you to join, rather say yes than no.


Or to express it with the words of Richard Branson: “If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later!”


Reflection


The third lever and a habit that is greatly underrated is reflecting.


When I started to reflect regularly, I didn’t really have any expectations. I just wanted to try out this habit because so many people praised it. At first, I didn’t really saw a benefit. I just wrote down the biggest successes of the past day and the things I can look forward to the next day.


Then, I started to write down the 3 most important goals of the next day and, additionally, reflect on a weekly and monthly basis. That changed everything.


I’ve never felt so much happiness, control over my life, focus on the right things, and creativity.


Reflecting regularly gave me the opportunity to rethink ideas, thoughts, and actions so that I was able to make the most of them. It truly helped me to become a better self by boosting my personal growth.

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